POP sensations Take That have made a giant gift to a Blackpool charity – and we mean giant!
Fans of the chart-topping band were left in awe at this summer’s mesmerising Progress shows which featured a giant statue towering over the stage.
Now ‘The Big Man’ – as he was fondly named by band members Gary, Robbie, Howard, Jason and Mark – has taken his final bow to benefit Trinity Hospice.
The huge structure’s metal bones have been broken down and raised a whopping £15,000.
The donation to the Bispham charity – which also houses Brian House Children’s Hospice – was made by kind-hearted Blackpool man Simon Rimmer who worked as part of the production crew on the tour.
He was given the statue by tour management and was determined the jaw-dropping gift should help a local cause.
Simon, 50, who lives on West Park Drive, said: “When I heard there were no plans for The Big Man after the tour, I was determined to make sure it didn’t go to waste.
“I lost my mother to leukaemia in February and my father-in-law has just been diagnosed with cancer so it seemed fitting Trinity should benefit. I’m proud I was able to save the statue and give the money to such a worthwhile charity.
“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to raise a large amount of money for a good cause.”
Linzi Young, fundraising manager for Trinity Hospice, said she was gobsmacked when she opened the letter and found the £15,000 donation.
She said: “It’s hard to believe The Big Man travelled through Europe, was seen by 1.7 million of fans yet eventually made its way to Blackpool!
“We are absolutely thrilled Simon thought of us for such an amazing opportunity .
“We would like to reassure all Take That fans he’s been put to good use - helping to support the services and care we offer .
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to the production company, Simon, the entire team and of course Gary, Howard, Jason, Mark and Robbie.”
A spokesman for the band today told The Gazette: “Take That are thrilled The Big Man could help raise money for such a worthy cause.”
The wooden Big Man was built around a valuable aluminium sub-frame and it was this which was broken down and sold.
Simon was given the statue - one of two used on the tour - after working in logistics with the stage crew.
He was responsible for installing and removing statues after each performance.
Tour bosses decided Simon could break down and sell off the statue as long as it was not used commercially by anyone else.
He was inspired to give the cash to charity after the other statue from the tour was donated to a charity in Holland to help save a windmill.
Simon, who is now working on indie band The Kooks tour, was given a helping hand by Fleetwood firm Richardson Transactions who transported the metal.
In a bid to boost Trinity’s coffers further, Simon also donated a few pieces of the original statue and some Take That memorabilia including one of the jackets they wore on the tour.
The collection is going to be auctioned online to help raise further funds.
It will also be available for viewing and bidding at this year’s Trinity Hospice Ball on November 18 at The Blackpool Tower Ballroom.
To book a ticket call (01253) 359355. To place a bid please visit www.trinityhospice.co.uk